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The Tale of the Lost Hikers

Some are in it for the paycheck. But for most of us that’s far from what really motivates us. If you’re anything like me you’re in it because you deeply care about what you do. You see a better tomorrow and you work to make it happen.

Great teams succeed when what each individual cares about aligns with the greater purpose of the team. These teams have a shared sense of direction, purpose, and belonging that matters to each individual in the team. Without these cornerstones, even the most talented teams can feel like a group of hikers lost in a vast wilderness – full of potential but lacking the map and compass to find their way.

Each member could be gifted in one way or another – some with an excellent knowledge of the flora, some with vast wilderness survival skills, and others with infectious enthusiasm. But when they find themselves lost in a forest and realize that they don’t have a map, that’s when the team matters. Each hiker might have their own idea about which direction they should take. But without a shared understanding, they will still circle aimlessly, becoming increasingly frustrated and disoriented.

As a group of individuals, the team can get lost in struggles and disorientation. Without a common sense for direction, it’s hard to make choices everyone aligns with.

This is not about having all the answers before you start your journey, though. It’s about knowing how the team can work together to figure out the answers as they progress – answers that each hiker contributes their best to and that lead to a meaningful destination, one that probably would have been out of reach for each individual.

Much like this group of hikers, teams in the corporate world benefit from clear answers to pivotal questions that give them direction, unify their efforts, and make the most of each team member’s unique skills and talents – prominent among those questions are “Where are we headed?” and “How do we make choices along the way?”.

Compelling answers to these questions can transform a team from a disjointed group of talented individuals into a cohesive, goal-oriented unit, fully equipped to tackle any challenges that come their way.

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz